ATL members vote in favour of a ‘possible boycott’ of all primary level exams
by Conrad Landin in Liverpool
TEACHERS voted overwhelmingly in favour of a “possible boycott” of all primary school tests yesterday.
Delegates at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) conference said unions should quit “moaning” and take the fight to the government.
Last month, Education Secretary Justine Greening announced that Sats tests for seven-year-olds will be scrapped and replaced by teacher assessment of four and five-year-olds.
But unions want all national exams for primary kids to be axed — including the Key Stage 2 Sats currently taken by 11-year-olds.
The ATL endorsed a motion calling on its executive to “explore a possible boycott of all tests at primary level” with 96 per cent of delegates voting in support.
Proposing the motion, inner London delegate Jean Roberts said: “The time has passed for moaning about the tests. The time has come to put the nail in the coffin of testing. Our children deserve better.”
The motion calls on the union to open talks with teachers’ union NUT and the National Association of Head Teachers on joining the boycott.
A motion on boycotting primary tests will be heard at the NUT’s conference over the Easter weekend.
Hertfordshire delegate Michael Catty said: “Education in this country is a pit, and it is a pit that will get deeper and deeper.
“It has been dug by the twin evils of testing and league tables.
“We can’t do anything about league tables. But we can do something about testing. Nobody wants it, the children don’t want it, the parents don’t want it, the teachers don’t want it, let’s get rid of it. We can do it.”
ATL general secretary Mary Bousted blasted the “chaos” of the Sats tests last year when tests were accidentally made public and others leaked by a rogue marker.
“You simply couldn’t make up the litany of leaks, errors, U-turns and clarifications that marred last year’s tests,” she said.
Ms Bousted added that it was “not surprising” that teachers are considering boycotts if Ms Greening was sticking to a “quid pro quo” where she would scrap just Key Stage 1 exams in exchange for even more tests.